Advocates, Governor on the Stump for Health Reform
A coalition of labor unions and advocacy groups boarded a bus this week and rolled into five cities across California, taking their health care reform message to the public.
The It's Our Healthcare coalition favors the health care overhaul measure introduced by Democratic legislative leaders over Gov. Schwarzenegger's plan, but coalition leaders made it clear they believe that both proposals are missing key elements, most notably a cap on insurance premiums they say would ensure affordable health coverage.
Because the coalition lacks the finances to challenge lobbyists in Sacramento, it opted to grab lawmakers' attention by mobilizing voters.
Such tactics may prove crucial, since the reform measure's provisions for imposing regulations on insurers are proving to be a tough sell, as Schwarzenegger found out last week in a speech to health insurers in Las Vegas. The governor touted his plan for universal coverage, telling insurers that their revenue would increase if everyone had insurance.
However, as health advocates noted, it remains difficult to endorse either the governor's plan or the Democrats' plan until they can prove that costs will be contained.
People on all sides of the issue will be watching the outcome of two other initiatives intended to expand health care coverage, both of which are set to launch next week.
Massachusetts will begin requiring most residents to purchase health care coverage, while a program in San Francisco will provide access to health care services for all city residents.
As the health care debate in Sacramento continues, the Legislature this week took action on other bills, including a measure to amend the eligibility requirements for the Access for Infants and Mothers Program and legislation to amend a Medi-Cal reimbursement rule.